Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, A Year in Review

Spadea 1251 / Gala Gown 2014 / Sirdar 1741 & Vogue 1296

As the year comes to an end, I wanted to look back at my creative output for the year.  It has been a busy one!

Lolita Patterns "Spearmint" / Vogue 4203 / By Hand London "Georgia"

The sewing community (both online and in person) has been incredibly inspiring, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

Simplicity 1426 & Butterick 4792 / By Hand London "Georgia" / By Hand London "Anna"

I did not accomplish everything I hoped to (that never manages to happen . . . ), but for goodness sake, this hobby of mine took me all the way to New York City!

Colette "Parfait" & Capelet / By Hand London "Anna" & Beaded Collar / Simplicity 1587

I hope the next year brings even more fabulous adventures.

Colette "Parfait" / Butterick 6055 / Simplicity 1371 & Simplicity 3224

Thank you for reading along, and for all of the amazing encouragement.

Sewaholic "Hollyburn" /  McCalls 9245

Happy New Year!

Sewaholic "Gabriola" /  Spadea NS-203

And, more importantly, Happy Sewing!!

Sirdar 1741 / "Two-Tone Jumper" / "Spring Song" Lady's Blouse

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


This was one of those projects that kept me guessing.

I received the pattern from an incredibly generous lady named Vivian earlier this year.  We met at a Britex event, and she mentioned that she had a stash of vintage patterns she thought I might like . . . would I!?!  This Spadea design was one of my favorites, but there was nothing suitable in my fabric stash, so it was put away.

But last week during a quick trip to JoAnn Fabrics, in a last minute effort to stock the sewing room with everything I would need for a sewing-filled holiday, I fell in love with this fabric and decided I could handle the 2% spandex mixed in with the woven cotton because I simply could not miss out on the color and impressionistic style of the print.  And it was just perfect for the Spadea pattern that kept popping into my head.

I was so excited, I threw the yardage in the wash as soon as I got home, followed by the dryer so I could cut right into it.

And then I started to doubt my choice of pattern and/or fabric.

It looked like a muumuu.  Not good.

Oh, the difference a belt and a petticoat can make!  I agree with the pattern illustration . . . a dress like this needs a wide belt, which meant that I did not have a suitable buckle option on hand.  And I desperately wanted to finish at least one project over the weekend.  So the only thing to do was make my own using the same technique I came up with for last year’s gala gown.

And I convinced myself to continue with the dress.  If I ended up hating it, I could always salvage the oversized pieces for something else.

In fact, there was just enough leftovers to make a straight skirt from this pattern, so that is also in the works (it was a rather successful few days of vacation on the sewing front!).

And in the end, I love my new dress!  Thank you, Vivian, for the lovely addition to my stash of vintage goodies!!

Dress:  Made by me, Lachasse of London for Spadea NS-203
Belt:  Made by me
Petticoat:  Made by me, Butterick 4792
Shoes:  Vince Camuto

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Crop Top

Somewhere in the middle of cutting out my skirt pieces, I decided that it might be possible to make a matching top from the limited amount of leftover yardage and scraps.  But it was going to be a really, really creative cutting layout.  And no second chances on this one.

Muslin time!

I loved the fit of Vogue 4203 so I borrowed the bodice muslin pieces for this project.  After narrowing the fabric intake on the darts to make it less fitted, I put the bodice and sleeves together to see if I liked the combination.  It works!

So there has been more hand basting around these parts.

This will not really be a crop top, since my midriff will be covered with the wide skirt waistband, but I am excited about a slightly different silhouette to add to my wardrobe.

My first thought was that I wanted a three-quarter length sleeve, but there was no way to squeeze two of them out of the wool.  And who knows, I may end up liking this even more than my original idea.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Hidden Details

My wool skirt is coming along nicely.

Instead of a back vent or kick-pleat, I decided to add a godet.  I am excited to see how this added bit of shape at the back turns out.

And then there was a whole lot of catch-stitching to do.

Being a wool pencil skirt, this garment definitely needed a lining.  And I happened to have some bemberg rayon that is an almost perfect color match to the wool, which was quite handy.

The waistband is boned to help keep its shape.

I normally do my best to avoid plastic boning.  But when it is only two inches long, and will not extend past the waistline, it works.  

And I have some stashed away, so I might as well use it, right?! 

Then there was some more hand stitching . . .

Until all the pieces were put together!

Next, the bulk was graded at the waist seam.

The skirt still requires a hem, but that is for another day.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hidden Treasure

While rifling through my yarn stash, I found this sweater.  Not quite complete, but almost . . .

The knitting is less than stellar, and the wool not of excellent quality.  Perhaps that is why I abandoned it so close to being finished? 

I decided to wash the thing to see if it would even out some of the imperfections.  That did work, for the most part.

It was then I noticed other issues with the garment.  How did I manage to knit two separate cuff lengths?!  What an annoying mistake to make.  Oh well, things can't always go smoothly.  But I really must do something about that ribbing; that is the part of a sweater I actually see, and it will drive me crazy!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

An Old Favorite

I have used McCalls 2698 as a skirt pattern so many times the tissue is starting to show real signs of wear (mostly along the dart legs).

Now seemed like a good time to get the pattern on muslin.  

So here I am making a muslin version of a garment that is rather unnecessary.  I already know how it fits, and where I need to make adjustments.  Go figure, right?!

But it is more practice with a new-to-me technique, which is always good.

Also, since the silhouette is fitted and will be made of wool, adding silk organza to the back pieces as an underlining seemed like a good idea.  So it was logical to go the traced route for the entire project, and underline the whole darn thing.

The seam allowances were removed from the tissue and the new markings traced onto muslin, adding extra wide seam allowances along the edges.  (I am really starting to appreciate those patterns that eliminate seam allowances from the start!)

And then came the fabric.  I purchased this wool from Mood last year - it is lighter-weight than I was expecting, but most of my online purchases are something of a surprise once I get them in my hands.  After digging around in the zipper drawer, I even managed to find a coordinating zip!

And, of course, I had some silk organza laying around.  

So, this is a garment made entirely of stashed items (including the thread! - that almost never happens).

It feels really nice to get back to some hand sewing, even if it is only a bit of messy basting.

I feel some time-consuming beading coming on . . .

Or perhaps I should just try to finish this skirt!